Contrasting patterns in the localization of glutamic acid decarboxylase and Ca2+/calmodulin protein kinase gene expression in the rat central nervous system

Neuroscience. 1992;46(4):825-49. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(92)90188-8.


The expression of the genes encoding the alpha subunit of type II calcium calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaM II kinase alpha) and the 67,000 mol. wt form of glutamic acid decarboxylase was examined throughout the rat central nervous system. In situ hybridization histochemistry, using cRNA probes, revealed a dense population of CaM II kinase alpha-expressing cells throughout the telencephalon and diencephalon. CaM II kinase alpha mRNA was also expressed in the midbrain, cerebellum and medulla oblongata, but at greatly reduced levels. No CaM II kinase alpha gene expression was detected in nuclei producing monoamines or acetylcholine. By contrast, the glutamic acid decarboxylase gene was moderately to highly expressed throughout the central nervous system. In several regions there was a complementarity in the distributions of cells expressing the glutamic acid decarboxylase or CaM II kinase alpha genes. Cells in certain nuclei such as the thalamic reticular nucleus or globus pallidus showed glutamic acid decarboxylase gene expression only; others such as the majority of the dorsal thalamic nuclei showed CaM II kinase alpha gene expression only. Several regions contained both glutamic acid decarboxylase and CaM II kinase alpha expressing cells. However, simultaneous immunostaining for both proteins revealed only two regions where CaM II kinase alpha and glutamic acid decarboxylase immunoreactivity were colocalized: the cerebellar Purkinje cells and the commissural nucleus of the stria terminalis. The results imply that CaM II kinase alpha is primarily expressed in non-GABAergic neurons. In several regions CaM II kinase alpha mRNA is concentrated in nuclei known to contain populations of neurons that use excitatory amino acid transmitters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Diencephalon / enzymology
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gene Expression
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / analysis
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / genetics*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / enzymology
  • Mesencephalon / enzymology
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pons / enzymology
  • Protein Kinases / analysis
  • Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Telencephalon / enzymology


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Protein Kinases
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase